Mysterious Ways

This week, we've been thinking about the fact that business opportunities can really present themselves anywhere, and that has certainly been true for us. Here are a few examples of how business has worked in mysterious ways for us:

  • Dagy just issued a price quote to a long-time customer in Vienna. We briefly talked about the project, and then reminisced about the fact that she met this client in her Pilates class. Really.
  • Just over a week ago, we met a potential client at a pub (yes, a pub) at Heathrow airport in London. He was on his way back from India, where he had just been trying to find a translation vendor for his own client. This meeting was quite serendipitous indeed, as the potential client just happened to sit next to us at a bar, said hello, and asked what we did for a living. 
  • A few years ago, Judy's beloved Prius got hit by another car in the parking lot of a grocery store. As she waited for the insurance people to show up, she started chatting with the other driver (a very nice lady), who happened to work for IBM and was looking for translators. The project didn't work out, but we thought the way we met was pretty cool.
  • We met one of our favorite clients at a baby shower that Judy attended a few years ago. 
  • Another long-term client of ours is Dagy's former yoga instructor from Vienna (yes, we like to work out).
What about you, dear colleagues? What's the strangest place you have met a potential customer? We think it's important to be prepared to talk intelligently about your small business at all times, be it at a bar, a baby shower, a grocery store, or a happy hour. We don't mean that one should constantly be shoving business cards in people's faces, but we do think it's important to be prepared. You know what that means: don't leave your house without business cards.

We'd love to hear your stories, dear colleagues!


Unknown on October 23, 2013 at 6:39 AM said...

Currently, Jeff and I are attending a client industry conference to solidify our tribe and seek potential new tribe members. I used to locate a modest beach condo in lieu of the hotel. The owner was quite accommodating, and our e-mail exchanges cordial. This morning, I telephoned the owner to confirm the exit instructions. After providing instructions, she asked me in which courts I interpret (my signature includes my title). She then informed me that she was an attorney. Interesting meeting indeed.

Anna Barbosa said...

Last year my husband had a health problem. During the consultation, his new doctor asked me how I knew so many details of what had happened to him, and I explained that I had just been translating medical reports and articles related to the disorder. He was surprised, and asked me for my card. I have already translated a couple of his articles for publication in international journals. Great, isn't it?

Rosemary Dann said...

I was entering a Barnes & Noble store wearing my "I'm an InterpreTater" tee shirt (with a potato head and headset) when the woman exiting stopped me and said that she just had to read what my shirt said. I explained that I'm an interpreter/translator and jokingly asked if she needed one. As it turned out, she worked with the probation department and their part-time interpreter had just retired!

Anonymous said...

That is true Judy & Daggy! Life is mysterious sometimes! Surprises are magical and I really love them. I enjoyed a lot reading all the experiences you´ve had. Thanks!

Jeff Alfonso on October 24, 2013 at 9:02 AM said...

I think I will follow your lead and do my networking in Pubs! ;)

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM said...

@Emily: Wow, that's a great story. Thanks so much for sharing! This might be the first one of its kind. Keep us posted. We would love to know if this attorney becomes a client.

@Anna: What a fantastic example -- well done. It is truly amazing that you found a client in the doctor's office and that it's the actual doctor. We hope your hubby is doing better!

@Rosemary: We love this anecdote. How fantastic. We really must get our hands on one of those awesome shirts. Have you done any work with the probation department yet?

@Dolores: We could not agree more, dear Dolo. Un gran saludo a Argentina.

@Jeff: So no one has to twist your arm, huh? :)

Kevin Lossner on October 24, 2013 at 3:55 PM said...

My latest nice client I mostly remember for his good dancing with a friend of mine at a boat party in Budapest a few years ago. I was sort of surprised to end up working together. But it's a small world, and regardless of what some Linguistic Sausage Producers claim, there just aren't that many specialists around, even in a common language pair. Sooner or later most will cross paths if there is a common interest.

Unknown on October 25, 2013 at 12:38 AM said...

Thanks for sharing such great stories of yours!
The main message for me was "try to leave you home office more often and meet real people!")

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM said...

@Kevin: Wow, how awesome. A great dancer and a great client -- fantastic. And you are too funny about Language Sausage Producers, haha. Happy Friday!

@colleague (sorry, your name is in Russian): Exactly, one needs to get out of the house once in a while, even though the home office is so comfy!

Craig Meulen on November 2, 2013 at 7:12 PM said...

A friend had met a woman at a salsa club and wanted to meet her again. She agreed but was going to bring her best friend along, so he asked me to tag along and make up the foursome.

Making small talk with the best friend on the way to the restaurant she mentioned she had recently been in Albania on an assignment for the humanitarian organisation she works with. I, too, had worked there in the aftermath of the Kosovo war so we had something to talk about... and no, we didn't hit it off romantically but I did give her my business card and some years later the organisation is one of my best clients!

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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